How many boathouses were there at Leigh Park Gardens?

I don’t suppose there is anyone still alive who will remember the boathouse that was on the upper lake at Leigh Park Gardens.
The boathouse, Leigh Park Gardens. Picture: George Barrett collection.The boathouse, Leigh Park Gardens. Picture: George Barrett collection.
The boathouse, Leigh Park Gardens. Picture: George Barrett collection.

It was in the grounds of Leigh Park House, the country estate of Sir George Staunton and finally the Fitzwygram family.

There is not enough space here to go into details of the estate but suffice to say it was always called Leigh Park Gardens when I was a boy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Older people of the estate still call it by that name although it has now been changed to the Sir George Staunton Country Park.

The boathouse beside the lake at Leigh Park Gardens in ruins, 1930.  Picture: George Barrett collectionThe boathouse beside the lake at Leigh Park Gardens in ruins, 1930.  Picture: George Barrett collection
The boathouse beside the lake at Leigh Park Gardens in ruins, 1930. Picture: George Barrett collection

At the bottom of the gradient running away from the house, which was demolished in 1959, is the lily pad covered lake. In the days of hard winters it was used for ice skating. A fishing club also had permission to fish the lake. However, the caption on the photograph here says it is of the upper lake.

To the east side of the lake was a boathouse and in the bottom picture we see the building with a thatched roof. In the bottom left it looks like nesting boxes for the wildfowl that inhabited the lake are a fixture of the building. The slope of the well-manicured lawns up to the house can be seen on the right.

In the main picture we see a boathouse in later years in a state of decay. Does anyone know if these two boathouses are the same building?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The reason I ask is that in the 1950s I can remember the remains of the boathouse.

Pennies from the old days that melted in the heat of the blitz.  Picture: Bob HindPennies from the old days that melted in the heat of the blitz.  Picture: Bob Hind
Pennies from the old days that melted in the heat of the blitz. Picture: Bob Hind

Walking down the avenue from the house there was a covered well to the right and to the left of that was the boathouse which I can remember well. If the boathouse in decay was taken in the 1930s as the caption states, by the 1950s, when I knew of it as a boy, little would have remained of it.

As we know, there are two lakes within the grounds, the upper and lower, and I am wondering if the boathouse in a state of decay is perhaps on the lower lake?

I know that for many years the estate was used as a nursery for Portsmouth City Council for growing all the plants for the public gardens around the city.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Perhaps one of the former employees remembers the boathouse. Please let me know. Thank you.

• In the days of ‘proper’ money, we used to have 12 pennies to a bob (yes, shillings got their nickname from me...), 240 to a pound. They were stacked in 12s for easy counting. five piles made 60 pennies and then they were put into five-shilling blue bags.

The teller in a bank in Sutton in Surrey must have just counted these pennies when an air raid began and he ran for his life to a shelter.

When he returned the coppers and melted from the heat and here was see 11 of them fused together.